Small Conceits

Musings. Stories. Poems.


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For my friends and family, especially David. Thank you for lending me courage.

Sometimes you have to admit

the only thing holding you back

is fear.

But you don’t just let it go, contrary to all the advice —

oh, no! —

wrap your arms tightly around it,

crush it to your chest

and jump off that cliff anyway.

And then what?

Use it as a floatation device?:

“In case of an emergency landing,

slip your arms through the straps

and hold your fear close.”


You imagine the instructions read

in a clipped British accent.

“Keep calm and expose your vulnerable bits.

Hook-beaked vultures

are standing by.”

But then you slowly open your tightly-shut eyes

and unclench your jaw

and see that you’ve landed —

not broken, among vultures —

but whole and welcomed by open-hearted friends,

supported by generous hearts.

You re-examine that stone anchor of fear you leapt with

and find buried within it the raw kernels

of courage.

Clouds from airplane

Author: Denise

I'm Denise. I'm a dog lover, a nature fanatic, a hiker, and a future yurt-dweller. I believe that stories lurk in all the tiny moments that make up our everyday lives. They wait, curled into themselves, until someone finds them and jailbreaks them, leading them out into the light. I have a flashlight. Follow me!

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